Following an internal pre-disciplinary hearing conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Matthew Roberts has been fired as an officer with the agency’s Division of Wildlife.
Thus Roberts joins former Wildlife Division supervisor David Warner in being the two mostly recently discharged state wildlife officers.
In each case the separation was made after the Natural Resources Department determined the men had violated state policy governing conduct while on duty.
Their separation also comes after each man was indicted in Brown County Court of Common Pleas for allegedly violating state law regarding employment irregularities.
Roberts and Warner were charged in July for theft in office, a fifth degree felony, and tampering with records, a third degree felony.
Warner was also indicted for dereliction of duty, a second degree misdemeanor.
The charges stem from the pair’s alleged activity of hunting while on duty, and for allegedly turning in bogus time slips that supposedly showed they were on duty when they were allegedly hunting with former state wildlife officer Allan Wright, who had been assigned to Brown County.
A fifth degree felony is punishable by a jail term of six to 12 months, a maximum fine of $2,500 or both
A third degree felony is punishable by a jail term of one to five years, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both.
A third degree misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of not more than 60 days, a maximum fine of $500 or both.
Warner was fired Sept. 21 and Roberts was discharged seven days later, Sept. 28.
In a copy of the hand-delivered letter to Roberts, Natural Resources Director James Zehringer says that the former wildlife officer assigned to Clinton County in southwest Ohio was fired for violating three agency disciplinary policy positions:
* “B. Dishonesty - 2. Willfully falsifying or removing any official document.
* “D. Failure of Good Behavior - 1. Failure of Good Behavior.
* “D. Failure of Good Behavior - 7. ... any act that brings discredit to the employer.”
Roberts is scheduled to appear before the Brown County Court of Common Pleas at noon, Oct. 12 for his second pre-trial hearing.
Meanwhile, Warner is scheduled to appear before the Brown County Court of Common Pleas at 12:15 p.m., Oct. 18 for his second pre-trial hearing.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn